Society

Refugees in Indonesia don’t want to get on boats. They want basic rights

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If they get access to a fair resettlement process, refugees won’t be interested in anything people smugglers are trying to sell Asher Hirsch The Guardian This week, home affairs minister Peter Dutton again reiterated the false claim that “there are 14,000 people in Indonesia waiting to get on to boats now”. I’ve just returned from a research trip in Indonesia, where I spoke to many refugees. Such a claim is not only disingenuous, it also highlights the double standards of ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

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The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

China and human rights: Is Australia ‘making a difference’?

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Australia’s relationship with China has been tumultuous of late: political scandals, security threats, a perceived need for draconian new legislation, angry rhetoric from Beijing. Sophie Richardson Brisbane Times It’s not a surprise that officials, including members of the new Australian government, and ordinary people across Australia have struggled to find the right answers to a complex and charged relationship. But as Australia tries to strike a balance between benefiting from and being threatened by its relationship with Beijing, a key ... Read More »

‘If I’ve got death threats, I’ve probably said something worthwhile’

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Sally Rugg remembers when she first realised “ordinary people” could create change. “When I was six or seven, the state government of WA was trying to build this huge road that would have gone through my primary school,” she recalls. Mary Ward The Canberra Times “So the community sort of banded together to save the school.” Two decades later, the LGBTI activist, best known as an instrumental figure in the Yes campaign during last year’s postal survey for marriage equality, ... Read More »

Trust Me, I’m An Expert: How augmented reality may one day make music a visual, interactive experience

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You probably heard your first strains of music when you were in utero. From then on it’s helped you learn, helped you relax, hyped you up, helped you work, helped you exercise, helped you celebrate and helped you grieve. Authors: The Conversation Music is ingrained in so many aspect of our lives, but it’s also the subject of a significant body of academic work. Today’s episode of Trust Me, I’m An Expert is all about research on music. We’ll be ... Read More »

Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya

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The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”. Anthony Ware The Conversation Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed… Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted. What was the ... Read More »

Europe struggles to atone for its colonial evils

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At a handover ceremony held in a Berlin church on Wednesday, Namibian officials received the remains of indigenous people killed in their country by German forces more than a century ago. Edited by Max J. Rosenthal and Ruby Mellen By Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post The grisly contents included 19 skulls, a scalp and bones belonging to five skeletons, all of which had been been housed for decades on dusty shelves in German universities and museums. The remains are a ... Read More »

Labyrinthine investigation concludes the Minotaur’s lair never existed

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Long held to be a known archaeological site, the Labyrinth of Crete was never built, says a new study. Fotis Kapetopoulos reports. Since the late nineteenth century, archaeologists, documentary-makers and novelists have asserted that the Cretan Labyrinth – the lair of the terrifying Minotaur – was a real place. But now a major paper suggests that the legendary maze was just that – legend, a figment of collective imagination. The labyrinth is popularly held to have been in the Palace ... Read More »

Vitamin D: a pseudo-vitamin for a pseudo-disease

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We are still in love with vitamins a century after they were discovered, with half the US and UK population taking a supplement. Tim Spector The Conversation Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is the favourite and is believed to have the most proven benefits. Governments, including the UK government, have said that the evidence for vitamin D’s health benefits is so overwhelming that every adult should take it as a supplement for at least six months of the ... Read More »

The surprising role cheese played in human evolution

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A solid white mass found in a broken jar in an Ancient Egyptian tomb has turned out to be the world’s oldest example of solid cheese. Penny Bickle The Conversation Probably made mostly from sheep or goats milk, the cheese was found several years ago by archaeologists in the ancient tomb of Ptahmes, who was a high-ranking Egyptian official. The substance was identified after the archaeology team carried out biomolecular identification of its proteins. This 3,200-year-old find is exciting because ... Read More »

A ‘woman problem’? No, the Liberals have a ‘man problem’, and they need to fix it

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Politics isn’t rational. Prejudice trumps performance. Politics is run by thugs. Chris Wallace The Conversation These are three reasonable conclusions from the snubbing of electorally popular Julie Bishop in last week’s Liberal leadership ballot, and Bishop-ally Julia Banks’ decision not to stand at the next election to protest bullying during the leadership campaign. Why did it happen? Does politics have to work this way? There are four facets to why Bishop, far away the most likely to maximise the Liberal ... Read More »

EEZ of Doing Watery Business

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With ties that go back centuries, the relations between Indonesia and India remain steadfast today. By Sidharto Suryodipuro (The writer is ambassador of Indonesia to India) The Economic Times Both President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met in various fora. During the visit of Modi to Indonesia last May, the two governments agreed to enhance cooperation in defence, space, railways, science, medicine and health. One aspect of cooperation that tends to be forgotten, however, is maritime boundary delimitation (MBD). ... Read More »

Cate Blanchett urges UN to act on Rohingya Muslim refugees

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Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett has told the UN Security Council that nothing prepared her for “the extent and depth of suffering” she saw when she visited camps in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled a… The Australian AP In her very different role as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, Blanchett said she heard “gut-wrenching accounts” of torture, rape, people seeing loved ones killed before their eyes, and… “I am a mother, and I saw my children ... Read More »

What we can learn from John McCain’s civic vulnerability

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In the countless reflections on the life of U.S. Sen. John McCain, his interventions to shut down ignorant and racist comments about his adversary Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election campaign have featured prominently. Alan Sears The Conversation McCain didn’t just stop the interventions. He forcefully challenged them and spoke up for the character and integrity of Obama. My opponent is “a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared of as President of ... Read More »

MAPPED: Where can the British and French fish for scallops? Where are the boundaries?

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A SCALLOPS war has broken out over the English Channel, with British and French vessels clashing in angry exchanges over capture of the valuable shellfish. Where can they fish for scallops and what are the boundaries? Paul Withers Express This map from the Government shows the territorial sea limits of the UK, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. In particular in the latest outbreak with fishermen from across the channel, it illustrates a clear red line there the UK-France ... Read More »